“Nobody guarantees you a free ride. The only difference is, most people don’t run for cover — they keep right on going, picking up the pieces the best way they can.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
The opening scenes of the film — following the memorable, rousing title song — are particularly strong, as Cagney and Derek’s friendship is established, only to be rudely disrupted by the impatience of vengeance-hungry townsfolk, who are reminiscent of the frightening posse in William Wellman’s The Ox-Bow Incident (1943).
Once this initial drama of mistaken identity is resolved, Cagney’s character gradually emerges as a more complex figure than we expected, and we watch with interest as he takes on a deeply paternal interest in the bitter young Derek.
Unfortunately, the script begins to unravel towards the end, as events (and character motivations) take some unexpected turns, and Cagney’s relationship with Derek takes a turn for the melodramatic. Equally disappointing is Cagney’s budding romance with Lindfors, who — despite her fine performance — is hampered by the relentless stereotypes (loyal daughter, admiring wife) afforded in her role.
Despite its flaws, however, Run For Cover remains a worthy western to check out once, and will be of special interest to fans of Ray’s unique oeuvre.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: